Guild Hall is the go-to arts and culture destination in the Hamptons, offering a museum, historic theater, expansive education programs, and a series of popular community events throughout the year.
Since 1931, it has created an impressive collection of local and international work and a roster that includes renowned artists, performers, and celebrities alike.
While the organization is warmly supported by a loyal group of members and benefactors — including Guild Hall President, actor, and activist Alec Baldwin — who are passionate about keeping the arts thriving in their seaside Long Island community, they were facing a common challenge. Their online experience did not reflect their status as a prominent arts and culture institution that has featured high-caliber exhibits by Jackson Pollock and performances from Bob Fosse, Olivia de Havilland, Kurt Vonnegut, Nora Ephron, and more. The Guild Hall team wanted their digital experiences to communicate both where they are now and where they aspire to go in the future in a way that welcomes engagement from visitors.
One of the organization’s great assets is its iconic visual brand, created by Pentagram many years ago. However, their site and other digital applications needed a significant overall update to showcase that brand with a more intuitive architecture and contemporary content strategy.
Our extensive experience and UX research in the arts and culture spheres and with similar, multi-faceted organizations guided our approach. Throughout the process, we simplified not only the navigation, but also the overall site experience, helping to edit, refine, and create new content along the way. A new strategy for imagery use based upon the concept of a gallery wall as a canvas pays respect to the art and artists themselves, eliminating the need to crop art to strict aspect ratios. We created a new emphasis on the visiting experience by establishing a pathway for everything patrons need to know to plan their visit, accompanied by site-wide imagery of the location and spaces to give a better sense of place.
The new site incorporates logical menus and efficient search and filtering functions, all easily manageable through a Wordpress content management system. Instead of the user feeling overwhelmed with choices, they're now given a smaller number of more clearly labeled pathways, which encourages further exploration and also places the calendar and events features front and center, driving patrons to take important actions such as becoming a member, purchasing tickets, donating, volunteering, and more.